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Opinion Editorials

Premium WordPress Themes – Not Your Average Theme

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revolution-tech.jpgAnyone that uses WordPress blogging platform knows that there was a severe drought in themes this past year.  Searching for new themes in 2006 would return you themes created in 2005- welcome to boring.

The cry for WordPress CMS style themes as well as a more professional 2.0 bend brought a fantastic designer into the limelight, that designer being Brian GardnerThe Revolution Themes designed by him with a CMS / Magazine style interface appears to have opened a new craze in the WordPress theme world.  These Premium themes start in price from $49 all the way up to $100 for a single license with Brians themes landing in the $79 range and up (not bad).  Some of the themes are worth every penny, other themes designed by others are ripoffs of other themes, but for a price, the theme drought is over. 

Here’s the thing with WordPress themes, even the new Premium themes- they can be complicated in many cases, there’s no money back guarantee, and they lack automation.  Also, these themes leak SEO due to percieved repeat content by search engines and require close management and adjustment using SEO plugins. 

Another issue I have is the idea of charging for the initial theme without allowing access to the admin panel.  Many of these larger CMS style themes require modification of content independently of the blog- for example setting up featured articles or new stories- these updates may require you to update featured content often as opposed to static content.

So here are a few tips & suggestions

for new and seasoned WordPress users when looking at themes to purchase.

  • Before dropping coin on a pretty premium theme, you need to discover the purpose of your site in general.  Content Management Systems are more like websites with a blog background.
  • Read the tutorials section of the theme you’re contemplating.  Read each tutorial to discover your depth of knowledge editing the various regions of the theme.
  • Click through the demos of the themes placing your content in the various sections in your mind (or on paper as I do)- does it work for your situation?  Do not assume it is simple to remove or add sections as a removal of a section could destroy the themes look and navigation although re-purposing a section is generally the way to go.
  • Seek out the level of assistance that comes with the theme- is the designer willing to work with you to work out solutions to your unique needs- if not, move on.
  • Is there a forum that addresses code or theme problems (premium doesn’t mean perfect)?
  • Are the plugins needed to use as the theme is demonstrated, packed into the theme already for installation?  For $49 dollars and up they should be.
  • Never purchase a Premium theme similar to another in your profession unless you intend on having a professional designer change your theme dramatically.  Many newer, less savvy agents must understand that just because you’ve been okay with template sites like advanced access and xsites in the past does not mean someone who is live / self hosted already will want their design copied – be creative and be unique, theft of layout and design is not a compliment, nor is copying the branding or copyof someone elses site.  (here’s an awesome example of CSS & copy theft.)

Suggested Designers: (Designers I personally like)

Brian and Cory have teamed up on a new internet venture centered around site design ithemes.com – agentgenius.com will be bringing you more, so stay tuned!

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Robert D. Ashby

    January 18, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Benn – I like the Rev Tech theme, except I don’t see it working for most of our blogging styles. I tend to like the neoclassical theme and a few others, then tweaking them as I learn more about programming (my company site is html only and needs upgrading also).

    I am currently pursuing a changeover from my current Typepad to WordPress under the same host as I feel WordPress presents better opportunities (running a mirror site right now). What do you think?

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 18, 2008 at 9:48 am

    WordPress as CMS for a company site is the only reason you would want to do it- it’s a blog with a landing page and architecture for your content.

  3. Drew Meyers

    January 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I like both Brian and Cory as designers as well — Brian is the guy behind the theme on Zillow Blog, and Cory designed Geek Estate (and I use a theme of his on my personal blog as well as the CoRE blog). That’s awesome they’ve teamed up.

  4. Cory Miller

    January 18, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Benn, thanks for the link and comments! We’re pumped about offering quality themes for small business-type websites. I think the SEO benefits that WordPress brings to the table, coupled with well-designed themes, offer a lot to local businesses looking for new customers, such as realtors.

    Drew, thanks for the nice comments as well!

  5. Benn Rosales

    January 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I agree totally…

  6. Carson Coots

    January 18, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Rev Mag is what I am working with right now, and it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to figure out. Plus you have to make sure the images are a consistent size, and those thumbnails dont create themselves.

    Check this out: https://efficientva.com/10-magazine-style-website-themes-for-entrepreneurial-online-publishers/

  7. Jay Thompson

    January 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Benn – what you’ve done with Revolution at SinglePointeRealty.com is nothing short of art. Fine art. You are the master.

    That the guy at https://liveinsf.com/ stole your copy verbatim is a crime. Literally.

    The problem I’m seeing with “premium” themes is they are becoming as widespread as free themes. While the number of sites using Revolution will never approach the numbers of something like a K2 theme, they are really beginning to pop up — particularly the “magazine style” themes. I wonder if any of these theme developers have ever considered issuing “limited editions”. I can understand why they don’t, as the amount of work developing a theme is considerable. But as the popular ones begin to become widespread, it does dilute the “specialness” of the premiums.

    Curious here… You say, “Never purchase a Premium theme similar to another in your profession unless you intend on having a professional designer change your theme dramatically”. I don’t understand why someone that purchases a theme should be required to change the theme dramatically. Why is a purchased theme any different than a free one? How is an agent to know if some other agent out there is using a similar theme???

  8. Benn Rosales

    January 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    You’re not required to do anything. Add a little 2.0 thinking to the rationality behind my statement and it’s obvious the point is to be above or a step beyond what would be normal. If you want to be average, why buy a premium theme?

    But let me take this to another level here – if you’re no longer busting out a monthly fee for template built sites like xsite or advanced, then obviously you’ve saved some cash, why not invest one year of monthly payment to the design of your site. Then, you’re more likely to be unique and set apart in your market.

    Seperate niche applications of a premium theme is not at issue here- I’m thinking ahead Xs 1.4 million… go bigger than the last or don’t go at all.

    You make both of my points here: “But as the popular ones begin to become widespread, it does dilute the “specialness” of the premiums.”

  9. Benn Rosales

    January 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    and by the way, don’t kid yourself, these premium themes are getting more dull by the day, the overall intent is to capture new business and that business is to design you something special. If not, it’s still an out of the box application.

  10. Carson Coots

    January 18, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    The average joe that doesn’t spend 15 hours a day scouring blogs and wordpress themes can’t even tell a K2 from a Revolution from a MistyLook. I don’t think there is too much to worry about as long as the headers/colors are tweaked. Man, in my office, they wouldn’t even know a kubrick if it slapped them in the face.

  11. Daniel Rothamel

    January 19, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I’m a Revolution fan, duh. I agree that using the premium themes isn’t necessarily easy, but in the case of Revolution, the free support forum is excellent. Plenty of good advice and helpful people.

    I do agree that a theme such as Revolution is basically a blog with a landing page, but in my case, and in the case of our brokerage blog, that is exactly what I want. It offers flexibility. I need to get to tweaking the SEO.

    As far as what guys like you and Rudy Bachraty are doing with Revolution– impressive.

    One day, one day. . .

  12. Steve Belt

    January 27, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Benn, I’m a bit behind in my multi-author blog reading, but I had some time this weekend, and finally did a tiny bit of catching up, when I stumbled upon this. I completely agree with Jay…SinglePoint.com is an astounding implementation of Revolution.

    I’ve sent a request off to Brian Gardner, asking him to work his magic for me. I hope my lame http://www.teambelt.com website, which has a theme many agent websites share (and did I mention how lame it is?) will get Revolutionized. If he can’t take on my little project, I’ll have to do it myself, but I’d really rather he did it.

  13. Steve Belt

    January 27, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    PS- Thanks to this, my catching up on reading blogs was completely thrown into a tail spin…but that’s a good thing.

  14. Benn Rosales

    January 27, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Steve, I aim to please… happy Sunday!

  15. Benn Rosales

    January 27, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Steve – did you see this?
    https://agentgenius.com/?p=911

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Opinion Editorials

‘OK, Boomer’ can get you fired, but millennial jokes can’t?

(EDITORIAL) The law says age-based clapbacks are illegal when aimed at some groups but not others. Pfft. Okay, Boomer.

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Boomer sad

A brand new meme is out and about, and it’s looking like it’ll have the staying power of ‘Fleek’ and ‘Yeet!’

Yessiree, ‘Okay, Boomer’ as related to exiting a go-nowhere conversation with out-of-pocket elders has legitimate sticky potential, but not everyone is as elated as I am. Yes, the Boomer generation themselves (and the pick-me’s in my age group who must have a CRAZY good Werther’s Original hookup), are pushing back against the latest mult-iuse hashtag, which was to be expected.

The same people happy to lump anyone born after 1975 in with kids born in 2005 as lazy, tech-obsessed, and entitled, were awfully quick to yell ‘SLUR’ at the latest turn of phrase, and I was happy to laugh at it.

But it turns out federal law is on their side when it comes to the workplace.

Because “Boomer” applies to folks now in their mid 50’s and up, workplace discrimination laws based on age can allow anyone feeling slighted by being referred to as such to retaliate with serious consequences.

However for “You millenials…” no such protections exist. Age-based discrimination laws protect people over 40, not the other way around. That means all the ‘Whatever, kid’s a fresh 23 year old graduate hire’ can expect from an office of folks in their 40s doesn’t carry any legal weight at the federal level.

And what’s really got my eyes rolling is the fact that the law here is so easy to skirt!

You’ve heard the sentiment behind #okayboomer before.

It’s the same one in: ‘Alright, sweetheart’ or ‘Okay hun’ or ‘Bless your heart.’

You could get across the same point by subbing in literally anything.

‘Okay, Boomer’ is now “Okay, Cheryl” or “Okay, khakis” or “Okay, Dad.”

You can’t do that with the n word, the g word (either of them), the c word (any of them) and so on through the alphabet of horrible things you’re absolutely not to call people—despite the aunt you no longer speak to saying there’s a 1:1 comparison to be made.

Look, I’m not blind to age based discrimination. It absolutely can be a problem on your team. Just because there aren’t a bunch of 30-somethings bullying a 65 year old in your immediate sphere doesn’t mean it isn’t happening somewhere, or that you can afford to discount it if that somewhere is right under your nose.

But dangit, if it’s between pulling out a powerpoint to showcase how ‘pounding the pavement’ isn’t how you find digital jobs in large cities, dumping stacks of books showing how inflation, wages, and rents didn’t all rise at the same rate, or defending not wanting or needing the latest Dr. Oz detox… don’t blame anyone for pulling a “classic lazy snowflake” move, dropping two words, and seeing their way out of being dumped on.

Short solution here is – don’t hire jerks, and it won’t be an issue. Longer term solution is… just wait until we’re your age.

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Opinion Editorials

Uber CEO regrets saying that murder is part of business

(EDITORIAL) Uber CEO calls murder a mistake. Should society support a business that seems to think death is just part of the cost of doing business?

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Uber Pickup

On February 21, 2016, I woke up early to notifications about a shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan. An Uber driver shot multiple individuals. Although I live in Oklahoma, the Facebook algorithms correctly deduced that this incident would be of interest to me. I have family and friends in Michigan, some in the Battle Creek area, just miles east of Kalamazoo. Later that morning, I learned that one of my friends had been killed in the incident.

Uber was criticized for the incident. Lawmakers across the country called for tougher background checks on Uber drivers. It was a PR nightmare for the company. Ultimately, it was the driver who was charged. Earlier this year, the driver pled guilty to all counts against him and was sentenced to life in prison. Uber continued operating, although then-Governor Rick Snyder did sign legislation that increased regulations for the ride-sharing industry.

I say this out of disclosure. This Uber tragedy affected me in a way that may cloud my opinion. I believe that Uber should be regulated more than it is. But recent events have made me question why society supports Uber and what I believe is a toxic culture.

How does Uber keep managing their corporate profile?

Uber seems to weather their PR crises fairly well. They’ve been criticized for inadequate background checks. Sexual harassment allegations at corporate headquarters shook up the management team. Uber has suffered data breaches. In 2018, the organization settled with the FTC for $148 million. Still, the company enjoys a market share of transportation services.

In 2018, Dara Khosrowshahi, former CEO of Expedia took over at Uber as its new CEO, replacing the CEO and founder Travis Kalanick. It was reported that Kalanick “led the company astray” from its moral center. Khosrowshahi said at the time, “In the end, the CEO of the company has to take responsibility.”

Just days ago, during an interview, Khosrowshahi said that “the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a ‘mistake.’” It was a political murder. Khosrowshahi compared the assassination to a self-driving accident with an Uber vehicle that killed a pedestrian. It didn’t take long for Khosrowshahi to issue a retraction, saying that he “said something in the moment (he doesn’t) believe.”

Is Uber’s culture toxic?

Khosrowshahi says that his comment shouldn’t mark him as a person. He thinks that what he said was a “learning moment.” When a CEO misspeaks in an interview that isn’t just local, but international, maybe we should pay attention. According to him, murder isn’t a big deal. I wonder if he would say that if it was his father who died, or his friend who was killed by a driver.

When my friend died in the Kalamazoo shooting, I had to seriously think about how I viewed Uber. My friend wasn’t even using Uber at the time. She was getting into her own car at a local restaurant with some friends of hers. I recognize that Uber wasn’t responsible for the driver going on a shooting spree, but I have to wonder if it was Uber’s culture that led to a lack of response at the time.

Uber’s new CEO seems removed from how its services affect individuals and communities as its previous CEO did. When a company thinks that murder is a “mistake,” maybe it’s time to rethink about supporting a service that doesn’t seem to think about people, its employees, its drivers and its riders.

It may be more convenient than a cab, but it’s time to look at Uber’s real impact on society. I hear Uber saying that innocent deaths are just the cost of business. Is that the basis for a billion-dollar corporation?

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Opinion Editorials

Funny females are less likely to be promoted

(CAREER) Science says that the funnier a female, the less likely she is to be promoted. Uhh…

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funny females promoted less often

Faceless keyboard warriors around the world have been — incorrectly — lamenting that women just aren’t funny for years now (remember the “Ghostbusters” remake backlash?).The good news is they are obviously wrong. The bad news? When women dare to reveal their comedic side in the workplace they are often perceived as “disruptive” while men are rewarded.

That’s right. Women not only have to worry about being constantly interrupted, receiving raises less frequently than men despite asking for them equally as often, and still making nearly $10,000 less than men each year, but now they have to worry about being too funny at the office.

A recent University of Arizona study asked more than 300 people to read the fictional resume of a clothing store manager with the gender-neutral name “Sam” and watch a video presentation featuring Sam. The videos came in four versions: a serious male speaker, a humorous male speaker, a serious female speaker and a humorous female speaker.

According to the researchers, “humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females.” Translation: Male workers earn respect for being funny while their funny female coworkers are often seen in a more negative light.

There are, of course, several reasons this could be the case. The researchers behind this particular study pointed to the stereotype that women are more dedicated to their families than their work, and being perceived as humorous could convey the sense they don’t take their work as seriously as men.

Psychiatrist Prudy Gourguechon offered another take, putting the blame directly on Sam the clothing store manager, calling out their seemingly narcissistic behavior and how society’s tolerance for such behavior is “distinctly gender-based.” She says these biases go back to the social programming of our childhoods and the roles mothers and fathers tend to play in our upbringing.

So what are women supposed to do with this information?

Gourgechon’s status quo advice includes telling women to not stop being funny, but “to be aware of the the feelings and subjectivities of the people around you.” While recommending an empathetic stance isn’t necessarily bad advice, it still puts the onus on women to change their behavior, worry about what everyone else thinks and attempt to please everyone around them.

We already know that professional women can have an extremely hard time remaining true to themselves in the workplace — especially women in the tech industry — and authenticity is often a privilege saved for those who conform to the accepted culture. We obviously still have a long way to go before women stop being “punished” for being funny at work, but things seem to be progressing, however slowly.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her thoughts last year on the improvements that have been made and the changes that still need to happen, including encouraging men to step up and do their part. In the wake of the #metoo movement, CNBC recommended five things men can do to support women at work. There are amazing women in STEM positions around the world we can all admire and shine a spotlight on.

All of these steps — both big and small — will continue to chip away at the gender inequality that permeates today’s workplaces. And perhaps one day in the near future, female clothing store manager Sam will be allowed to be just as funny as male clothing store manager Sam.

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